On Jan. 8, an extraordinary event happened in the Kenai Peninsula Borough chambers. Twelve outstanding citizens threw their hats in the ring to serve in the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District School Board seat vacated by Mike Chenault as he moved on to his new position in the state House of Representatives.
This dedicated group of individuals attended an orientation, read through pertinent materials regarding the school district's operation and subjected themselves to three hours of interviews from the school board members ranging from vocational education to relationships with fellow board members.
Everyone in the room had to be impressed. Some public comments during the evening meeting when the selection was made attested to the quality of the candidates, but for those of us in the room, including all of the applicants, it was fabulous to hear interested individuals describe how they best could serve.
Granted, an investment of a few hours is much better than a grueling campaign, but every one of the applicants was prepared, thoughtful and ready to serve. That speaks highly of them individually, but also of the community that encourages and supports an environment where service is the norm.
February is School Board Recognition Month, and the exercise described above reminded me of the power and important role of school board members.
School board members exemplify local citizen control and decision making in education. They volunteer hundreds of hours and an immeasurable amount of energy to assure that our schools are providing the best education possible for the children of our community.
School board members' decisions affect our children -- what they learn, who will teach them and what kinds of facilities house their classrooms.
They are the men and women elected to establish the policies that provide the framework for our public schools. They represent you, and they take this responsibility seriously by attending lengthy and sometimes turbulent meetings, conferences and institutes where they broaden their knowledge about education during numerous conversations about the school and before the Alaska Legislature.
Our school board is one of 53 such boards across the state. These boards enable us to have local control of the public schools, meaning that decisions on school programming are made by local, elected representatives who understand the community's unique problems, values, cultures and circumstances.
When you elected your school board members, you picked people to act for you in your absence. You chose men and women you knew you could trust with the vitality of the peninsula and the development of your children.
A special thanks goes to the 12 folks willing to assist with the work of the school board -- we hope to see you back at election time. And, a special salute to the public servants of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District Board of Education whose dedication and civic responsibility often go unnoticed. We applaud them for their vision and voice to help shape a better tomorrow.
Your School Board members are:
n Deborah Germano, president
Phone: (907) 235-2538
n Sammy Crawford, vice president
n Debra Mullins, clerk
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. us
n Joe Arness, treasurer
n Al Poindexter, member
Phone: (907) 235-1034
E-mail: email@example.com. ak.us
n Nels Anderson, member
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. us
n Sandra Wassilie
Phone: (907) 224-3950
n Sara Hart
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